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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I thought I would share this with you. I started out with a 4x8 piece of stryofoam that was also almost 1' 1/2 thick. I got this FREE because it was windy one day. Very Windy.

I finally decided what to do with it, as I had always wanted to make a tree. I cut up the styrofoam with various saws. (Long and short ones) and an electric knife came in handy too! Here is a pic of what I came up with. (with paint!)



Now, you may or may not notice that there is a square cut in the "Y" of the branches. That's where my "Ground breaker" (Shiatzu massager) is going to go.

I created this "branch mover" from the idea I got on THIS website for a ground breaker. Sure enough, it worked!





I hope that video worked.....

Anyway, I hooked up the "contraption" to the tree with just simple wire, and the thing ran great! Now keep in mind, that my "Shiatzu ground breaker" IS supporting alot more PVC than most. Also, I added a bunch of leaves and such at a 45 degree angle.



I ran this "waving branches tree" for over a week, 15 plus hours a day, every day.

It broke. Here is a picture.



Too much weight at too much of an angle I think. The metal rods from the Shiatzu finally wore, or BROKE through the PVC. I tried to fix it by placing metal conduit inside the broken PVC, but it bound up the motor for some reason. I decided at that point, rather than take the display down, I would leave it up, but leave it as a Static prop.

Here is what it originally looked like:



It was alot of fun! And I learned alot! :D
 

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I love it...looks great...a couple of thoughts on how to fix/reinforce the arms so they don't break...


  • Do the arms of the messager fit snugly into the PVC? If not try and file the gap space with cardboard or styrofoam
  • Place several "set screws" at your massager linkage point. That is small flat pan head screws that you can screw into PVC and tighten down against the arm of the massager - this should help keep everything tight and secure
  • Consider replacing the initial piece of PVC that connects to the messager with metal condiut, again making sure it is a snug fig, then you can transfer to PVC making sure the transfer joint is strong and reinforced.
  • again use metal conduit to connect to the massager unit, leave it 6"-12" longer then necessary then insert wooden dowels (so it is a snug fit), then you can transfer to PVC; the wooden dowels should help reinforce everything without adding to much weight. Make sure you screw the wooden dowels in place into the PVC (and if possible, the metal conduit).
The key to all the above is making sure you have a snug fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks berkisho.

This was my first attempt at a ground breaker, and I just knew it went "too easy". Thanks very much for all the advice, and when I re-do it for Halloween I will definitely keep your ideas in mind. The reason I "couldn't" fix it was because it is currently on a cat-walk 15 feet above the lobby at the theatre I work at, and I didn't have the time to take it all down and re-do it. I am currently using it for a "Harry Potter" display, but the real reason I made it was for Halloween! :D
 

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hey man, your stuffs gettin better all the time. I would use aluminum for your struckture. Its lighter than pvc and won't break so easy. I prefer brass but for tree limbs you really gotta keep that weight down. the one we did burns out its motor about every three months.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Lester, 3 months, eh? That doesn't sound so bad!

I do think that keeping the weight down is THE key. I had to make it big enough to look decent, and small enough to work.

Thanks again for the pointers.

Edwin
 

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its bad when its got a year warrenty.
 

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I love shiatsu props -- they're about all I am mechanical enough to do, lol. AND since i'm doing a haunted treehouse this year...well, its gonna have moving limbs, boys and girls=) But u r right about the weight. Had a scarecrow grim reaver over a shiatsu and it was tough keeping it from listing AND keeping the weight down.

But i think this year having the weight going down instead of up on top of the shiatsu should provide a different set of problems.

Thx for the great video=)
 
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